From:             "Al Powell" 
Organization:     TAMU Agricultural Communications
Date sent:        Mon, 27 Apr 1998 13:37:29 CDT
Subject:          <280ZX> Removing Radio Console
Priority:         normal

I recently had a question about how to install a newer model radio in 
a 280ZX-series car.  I realized I hadn't every posted a "how-to" on 
this, so here it is......


This is a very easy move.  Brand of new radio is not relevant, as long
as it's a DIN-chassis.  Hopefully you will NOT try to install a 
two-knob (old style) radio, which is more difficult.  I do not 
recommend using anything but a DIN-chassis radio for this install.

I STRONGLY ADVISE that you buy the adapter face plate which 
Crutchfield (800-446-1640) sells.  You remove the existing plastic 
aluminim-look radio console face plate (peel it off) and install the 
Crutchfield plate with four screws, one in each corner of the plate.  

You can see this plate in the radio installation on my Z-car page:
(Note: this URL only good through mid-June, 1998.)

Click on the thumbnail photo for a larger view.

To remove radio console:

1)  Remove decorative panels above both footwells (2 screws each, pull
on push-on connectors to remove wires formm lights.  Store panels and

2)  Remove triangular trim piece from each side of console (1 screw
each, #2 Philips head screwdriver...)  Store trim pieces and screws.

3)  Remove four bolts (with #1 Philips head insert) from each side of
radio console.  For the first time, remove these using a socket set. 
If you don't kill them when re-installing, you will be able to remove
them with a #1 Philips head screwdriver on later service trips.

4)  Move gearshift into gear 2 or 4 to give some room.  PROTECT the
transmission hump center pad/console between gearshift and radio
console with a shop rag or towel.  When you pull the console out, it
may have sharp edges on bottom which can damage the console.

5) With bolts out, wiggle radio console and pull gently forward.  It
should come forward all ion one piece, with radio and tape player

6)  When accessible, unplug radio antenna.  Find wiring harness for
radio assy (clipped to console) and unplug connectors.  MOST of these
connectors are different from each other and will not need to be
labeled.  If memory serves, some of them on the cig. lighter may not
be well labeled.  Masking tape bent over the wire and turned into a
flag can be used as a label - write on it with a magic marker to
remind yourself where the wire re-connects.

7)  you can now remove the entire console from the car to a work
surface.  Study it carefully and you will see how to remoe the
components.  I believe you must remove the knobs from the stock radio
to remove it.

8)  Once the radio and tape deck have been removed, you can modify the
face of the console and install the face plate.  Some cutting will be
required to provide the appropriate hole for the DIN-chassis radio. 
Be brave!

That you minimize changes to car's wiring harness.  Use existing
speaker wires, etc. as much as possible. GET A WIRING DIAGRAM from
Chilton's (factory manual is best) so you can work out which wires do
what.  YOU MUST KNOW THIS to minimize the work and the mistakes.

10)  When you must cut wires, do so on the RADIO console end of 
the wiring harness so that you will still be able to remove it from
the car by unplugging the factory connector.  Make your cuts in the
CENTER of the wires between the connector and existing radio, NOT at
either end.  You always want a few inches of wire to work with!!  (And
you may end up trimming the ends more than once to correct any

11)  I recommend using bullet-connectors for this installation.  Then
if you have to move connections, you can do so.  The connectors 
and a crimping/wire stripping tool are available at any auto parts 
store. Tell them you need "bullet connectors, blue size, and the 
crimping and stripping tool."  The connectors are coded by color for 
different wire gauges.  Blue is good for this kind of wiring.

12)  Remember that bullet connectors require TWO commectors for  each
wire - one male, one female.  The benefit is that you can UNplug what
you've done.  The alternative to bullet connectors is butt connectors,
which also should be used in blue size.  Butt connectors work fine,
they just can't be unplugged.

13)  For wiring, follow the instructions which come with your radio.

14)  After the radio is installed and you want to test it, you can set
the radio console in place, plug in the antenna and wire harness, and
try it.  BUT NOTE: the panel grounds itself to the car when 
installed, so unless you run a jumper wire from the metal back of 
the radio console to a ground point on the transmission hump, the 
circuit will not be complete. (This can make you crazy till you 
figure it out.)  Remember the ground/jumper wire for for your test!

Al Powell                        Voice:  409/845-2807
107 Reed McDonald Bldg.          Fax:    409/862-1202
College Station, TX 77843